What to Remember When Performing Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's "Almost Cut My Hair"
Small Dots appearing directly above certain tab numbers in the verse sections of this transcription indicate where guitarists Stephen Stills and Neil Young employ fret-hand muting to create staccato articulations for their chords strums.
To recreate the staccato rhythms heard on beats two and four of each bar in the verse, simply relax and loosen your fret hand’s grip on the strings after strumming each chord, just enough to break the contact between strings and frets and stop the strings from vibrating. But avoid lifting your fingers completely off the strings, as doing so would likely result in unwanted open notes.
When performing Young’s fingerpicked licks in bars 1–4 (Gtr. 2 part), barré your index finger at the fifth fret while hammering-on or pulling-off the melody notes with your ring finger. Pluck the top strings for each chord with your pick hand’s middle and ring fingers while simultaneously sounding the lowest note with the thumb. Alternatively, you could flatpick the low notes while still fingerpicking the higher strings with your middle and ring fingers. This hybrid picking technique facilitates smooth, quick transitions to flatpicking/strumming subsequent chords and melody notes.
During the song’s chorus, Stills and Young frequently employ their guitars’ vibrato bars to shake various notes and chords, as mentioned by the text note for Gtr. 2 in bar 15. If your guitar isn’t equipped with a bar, you can emulate the vibrato sound on the chords with either a tremolo effect pedal, or by quickly wiggling the strings up and down with your fret hand as you play.
For Jeff Perrin’s tab of “Almost Cut My Hair,” check out the May 2018 issue of Guitar World.